Anzac Day in lockdown

Monica Wilkie

23 April 2020 | Ideas@TheCentre

Self-isolation will not prevent us commemorating Anzac Day, and the coronavirus crisis will not dim our Anzac spirit.

Director of the Australian War Memorial, Matt Anderson PSM, echoed many people’s feelings when he said “It is heartbreaking that the traditional Dawn Service, National Ceremony and veterans’ march will not take place this year.”

But although we are physically distanced, we can all still attend in our living rooms to watch the Anzac Day Dawn Service broadcast from Canberra.

During this quiet moment we can reflect on the remarkable evolution of Anzac Day that has occurred since the Gallipoli landings on April 25, 1915.

We have gone from celebrating the sacrifices made at that horrific battle, to commemorating all those who have fought for their country and our freedom.

The Anzac spirit of courage, mateship, and community was born on that day in 1915, and every year we celebrate its significance and endurance.

That’s why the RSL has encouraged people to film themselves reciting The Ode and post it on social media, while Senator Jim Molan has encouraged people to use #AnzacAtHome to share their stories of celebration. And, to ensure families stay entertained, the RSL has also created Anzac Spirit Bingo and Trivia.

We can see the Anzac spirit not only in our determination to keep Anzac Day traditions alive during a lockdown, but in the willingness of Australians to help their community during this crisis.

A Melbourne IT company is offering six months free support to small businesses who need to boost their online presence.

Lloyds Auctioneers set up a free grocery delivery service, also distributing free hand sanitiser, masks and other healthcare products.

The charity Oz Harvest is providing food for international students who have lost their jobs and can’t get home.

Communities have been organising food for frontline medical workers, and one gym owner is offering free virtual training classes for health care workers.

Our immediate crisis has understandably caused a great deal of anxiety. But just as we endured hardship in 1915, we will endure once more – Anzac Day is a timely reminder of this.

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